Wednesday 25 April 2012

Leavine So Soon?

On Monday April 23rd WWE announced the release of developmental talent Andy Leavine. The organisation makes cuts to its developmental programme all the time but Leavine is a unique case in that he was the winner last year's Tough Enough revival. His release could be indicative of that show's future.
Upon winning TE Leavine appeared on RAW in a segment with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin (who picked him as the winner) and Vince McMahon, an incredibly impressive introduction to the company. His good fortune didn't last. He was posted to Florida Championship Wrestling to join the rest of the hopefuls signed to developmental deals. He adopted the ring name of Kevin Hackman and started training, the idea being that he would brush up on the skills he would need in order to advance to the main WWE roster.
You know from the above news of his release that he never made it out of FCW. Doing that was always going to be tough to accomplish. There are dozens of men vying for a handful of lucrative spots, many of whom have more experience or a more marketable look or better mic skills or some other asset that would earn them promotion than did Andy Leavine. He found out the hard way that it's tough to make it from FCW to WWE on merit alone.

In the end Andy Leavine just wasn't... tough enough (I'm sorry)

If WWE were planning a second season of Tough Enough, in which a group of men and women attempt to avoid elimination on a weekly basis by competing in tasks and impressing trainers Booker T, Trish Stratus and Bill DeMott and judge 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, it would make the release of the series' most recent winner that much more unlikely. Two winners of the same show would make a natural feud and, more importantly, they'd want Leavine under contract to talk positively about the process and the opportunity the show provides contestants. That he's gone could mean WWE was either unable or unwilling to get a 2012 series underway.
Unfortunately for Andy Leavine he may find it difficult to get further work in the wrestling business. Winning Tough Enough may have earned him the ire of indy wrestlers and promoters, making them unlikely to book him. As he was never a regular on RAW or SmackDown there's no incentive for an independent company to give him work beyond his ability level, and all indications are that he's average at best. He will have to persevere if he's going to get anywhere with his wrestling career. I hope he does. If he's lucky it's possible TNA may offer him something at some point in the future. It's the sort of move they're renowned for making.
The apparent end of Tough Enough isn't the worst news for wrestling fans. It was an interesting insight into the training that pro wrestlers go through and the farm system WWE utilises to create its stars of tomorrow but it was never must-see television. It was a diversion, nothing more. The absence of a second series is as much to do with wrestling's popularity being a far cry from its Attitude Era heyday as anything else. That being the case perhaps should learn the lesson that they need to try being a little more creative again.

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